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As Comet Lemmon swings around the Sun, it becomes unsuitably placed for observation for about a week from March 24th. Until now, southern hemisphere observers have enjoyed excellent views of Lemmon. Since the start of the year it has been superbly placed for observation; most of the time positioned high in the night sky as it weaved its way through the far southern constellations. Although visible to the naked eye since February, the best views of Lemmon have been obtained using binoculars or telescopes, with the comet displaying a bright coma and wispy tail. When imaged, the coma appeared striking emerald green in colour from gas ionisation.

Comet C/2012 F6 (Lemmon) as it appeared on 28th January 2013 (Rolf Wahl Olsen - www.rolfolsenastrophotography.com)

Lemmon is now no longer visible in the evening sky. After a few days at the end of March when it's unobservable, the comet reappears as a morning object low down towards the east before sunrise on April 1st. As before, this applies to southern hemisphere based astronomers. Those in the northern hemisphere will have to wait one month longer before then can catch their first glimpse of the comet.

Two comets and a shooting star at sunset over the Paranal Observatory, Chile. Comet PanSTARRS is seen at the lower right, Comet Lemmon towards the middle of the image with the shooting star positioned between the two. (ESO/G. Brammer)

Northern hemisphere observers will finally get their chance to view the comet at the beginning of May when it appears in the morning sky. Although past its best, Lemmon should be visible in binoculars and at magnitude 7, an easy small telescope target. The visibility improves on a daily basis as the comet heads north, but of course the higher altitude is offset by its diminishing brightness.

From the southern hemisphere Lemmon will continue to appear low down before sunrise until about May when it's finally lost to the bright morning twilight.

Comet Lemmon

NameC/2012 L6 (Lemmon)
Discovered ByA. R. Gibbs (Mount Lemmon Survey)
Discovery DateMarch 23, 2012
Discovery Magnitude20.7
EpochSeptember 30, 2012
Aphelion (AU)~1,000
Perihelion (AU)0.7313
Eccentricity0.9985
Orbital Period (years)~11,000
Inclination (degrees)82.61
Next perihelionMarch 24, 2013

Comet Lemmon (C/2012 F6) Data Table (data shown at 0:00 UT)

DateRight AscensionDeclinationMag.Distance from Earth (AU)Constellation
24 Mar 201300h 10m 02s-25d 31m 40s4.11.466Sculptor
25 Mar 201300h 10m 05s-24d 32m 36s4.21.477Cetus
26 Mar 201300h 10m 09s-23d 33m 56s4.31.488Cetus
27 Mar 201300h 10m 13s-22d 35m 40s4.31.498Cetus
28 Mar 201300h 10m 17s-21d 37m 46s4.31.509Cetus
29 Mar 201300h 10m 21s-20d 40m 13s4.41.519Cetus
30 Mar 201300h 10m 26s-19d 43m 01s4.41.529Cetus
31 Mar 201300h 10m 31s-18d 46m 09s4.41.538Cetus
01 Apr 201300h 10m 36s-17d 49m 36s4.51.547Cetus
02 Apr 201300h 10m 41s-16d 53m 21s4.51.556Cetus
03 Apr 201300h 10m 47s-15d 57m 24s4.61.565Cetus
04 Apr 201300h 10m 54s-15d 01m 45s4.71.573Cetus
05 Apr 201300h 11m 01s-14d 06m 23s4.71.581Cetus
06 Apr 201300h 11m 08s-13d 11m 17s4.81.588Cetus
07 Apr 201300h 11m 17s-12d 16m 28s4.91.596Cetus
08 Apr 201300h 11m 25s-11d 21m 55s5.01.603Cetus
09 Apr 201300h 11m 34s-10d 27m 37s5.01.610Cetus
10 Apr 201300h 11m 44s-09d 33m 35s5.11.616Cetus
11 Apr 201300h 11m 54s-08d 39m 47s5.21.622Cetus
12 Apr 201300h 12m 04s-07d 46m 15s5.31.628Cetus
13 Apr 201300h 12m 16s-06d 52m 56s5.41.634Cetus
14 Apr 201300h 12m 27s-05d 59m 52s5.51.639Pisces
15 Apr 201300h 12m 39s-05d 07m 02s5.61.645Pisces
16 Apr 201300h 12m 52s-04d 14m 25s5.61.650Pisces
17 Apr 201300h 13m 05s-03d 22m 01s5.71.654Pisces
18 Apr 201300h 13m 18s-02d 29m 50s5.81.659Pisces
19 Apr 201300h 13m 31s-01d 37m 51s5.91.663Pisces
20 Apr 201300h 13m 45s-00d 46m 05s6.01.667Pisces
21 Apr 201300h 13m 60s00d 05m 29s6.11.671Pisces
22 Apr 201300h 14m 14s00d 56m 52s6.21.675Pisces
23 Apr 201300h 14m 29s01d 48m 04s6.31.678Pisces
24 Apr 201300h 14m 44s02d 39m 05s6.41.682Pisces
25 Apr 201300h 14m 59s03d 29m 56s6.51.685Pisces
26 Apr 201300h 15m 15s04d 20m 36s6.61.688Pisces
27 Apr 201300h 15m 30s05d 11m 06s6.71.691Pisces
28 Apr 201300h 15m 46s06d 01m 27s6.81.694Pisces
29 Apr 201300h 16m 01s06d 51m 38s6.91.696Pisces
30 Apr 201300h 16m 17s07d 41m 41s7.01.699Pisces
01 May 201300h 16m 33s08d 31m 35s7.11.701Pisces
02 May 201300h 16m 48s09d 21m 20s7.21.703Pisces
03 May 201300h 17m 04s10d 10m 58s7.31.705Pisces
04 May 201300h 17m 19s11d 00m 27s7.41.707Pisces
05 May 201300h 17m 34s11d 49m 50s7.51.709Pisces
06 May 201300h 17m 49s12d 39m 04s7.61.711Pisces
07 May 201300h 18m 04s13d 28m 12s7.61.713Pisces
08 May 201300h 18m 19s14d 17m 13s7.71.715Pisces
09 May 201300h 18m 33s15d 06m 07s7.81.716Pisces
10 May 201300h 18m 47s15d 54m 55s7.91.718Pisces
11 May 201300h 18m 60s16d 43m 37s8.01.719Pisces
12 May 201300h 19m 13s17d 32m 12s8.11.721Pisces
13 May 201300h 19m 25s18d 20m 41s8.21.722Pisces
14 May 201300h 19m 37s19d 09m 05s8.31.723Pisces
15 May 201300h 19m 48s19d 57m 23s8.41.725Pisces
16 May 201300h 19m 59s20d 45m 35s8.41.726Pisces
17 May 201300h 20m 08s21d 33m 41s8.51.727Pisces
18 May 201300h 20m 17s22d 21m 42s8.61.728Andromeda
19 May 201300h 20m 26s23d 09m 38s8.71.730Andromeda
20 May 201300h 20m 33s23d 57m 28s8.81.731Andromeda
21 May 201300h 20m 40s24d 45m 13s8.91.732Andromeda
22 May 201300h 20m 45s25d 32m 52s8.91.733Andromeda
23 May 201300h 20m 50s26d 20m 26s9.01.734Andromeda
24 May 201300h 20m 54s27d 07m 54s9.11.736Andromeda
25 May 201300h 20m 56s27d 55m 17s9.21.737Andromeda
26 May 201300h 20m 58s28d 42m 35s9.31.738Andromeda
27 May 201300h 20m 58s29d 29m 46s9.31.739Andromeda
28 May 201300h 20m 57s30d 16m 52s9.41.741Andromeda
29 May 201300h 20m 54s31d 03m 52s9.51.742Andromeda
30 May 201300h 20m 50s31d 50m 46s9.61.743Andromeda
31 May 201300h 20m 45s32d 37m 34s9.61.745Andromeda
01 Jun 201300h 20m 38s33d 24m 15s9.71.746Andromeda
02 Jun 201300h 20m 30s34d 10m 49s9.81.748Andromeda
03 Jun 201300h 20m 20s34d 57m 17s9.91.749Andromeda
04 Jun 201300h 20m 08s35d 43m 37s9.91.751Andromeda
05 Jun 201300h 19m 54s36d 29m 50s10.01.753Andromeda
06 Jun 201300h 19m 38s37d 15m 54s10.11.755Andromeda
07 Jun 201300h 19m 20s38d 01m 51s10.11.756Andromeda
08 Jun 201300h 19m 00s38d 47m 38s10.21.758Andromeda
09 Jun 201300h 18m 38s39d 33m 17s10.31.760Andromeda
10 Jun 201300h 18m 14s40d 18m 46s10.41.762Andromeda
11 Jun 201300h 17m 47s41d 04m 04s10.41.765Andromeda
12 Jun 201300h 17m 17s41d 49m 12s10.51.767Andromeda
13 Jun 201300h 16m 45s42d 34m 09s10.61.769Andromeda
14 Jun 201300h 16m 10s43d 18m 54s10.61.772Andromeda
15 Jun 201300h 15m 32s44d 03m 27s10.71.774Andromeda
16 Jun 201300h 14m 51s44d 47m 46s10.81.777Andromeda
17 Jun 201300h 14m 07s45d 31m 52s10.81.779Andromeda
18 Jun 201300h 13m 20s46d 15m 44s10.91.782Andromeda
19 Jun 201300h 12m 29s46d 59m 21s10.91.785Andromeda
20 Jun 201300h 11m 35s47d 42m 41s11.01.788Andromeda
21 Jun 201300h 10m 36s48d 25m 45s11.11.791Andromeda
22 Jun 201300h 09m 34s49d 08m 32s11.11.795Cassiopeia
23 Jun 201300h 08m 28s49d 51m 01s11.21.798Cassiopeia
24 Jun 201300h 07m 18s50d 33m 11s11.31.802Cassiopeia
25 Jun 201300h 06m 03s51d 15m 00s11.31.805Cassiopeia
26 Jun 201300h 04m 44s51d 56m 29s11.41.809Cassiopeia
27 Jun 201300h 03m 20s52d 37m 36s11.41.813Cassiopeia
28 Jun 201300h 01m 50s53d 18m 21s11.51.817Cassiopeia
29 Jun 201300h 00m 16s53d 58m 41s11.61.821Cassiopeia
30 Jun 201323h 58m 36s54d 38m 36s11.61.826Cassiopeia
01 Jul 201323h 56m 51s55d 18m 05s11.71.830Cassiopeia
02 Jul 201323h 54m 59s55d 57m 07s11.71.835Cassiopeia
03 Jul 201323h 53m 02s56d 35m 40s11.81.840Cassiopeia
04 Jul 201323h 50m 57s57d 13m 42s11.91.844Cassiopeia
05 Jul 201323h 48m 47s57d 51m 13s11.91.850Cassiopeia
06 Jul 201323h 46m 29s58d 28m 11s12.01.855Cassiopeia
07 Jul 201323h 44m 04s59d 04m 35s12.01.860Cassiopeia
08 Jul 201323h 41m 32s59d 40m 22s12.11.866Cassiopeia
09 Jul 201323h 38m 52s60d 15m 32s12.21.871Cassiopeia
10 Jul 201323h 36m 04s60d 50m 03s12.21.877Cassiopeia
11 Jul 201323h 33m 08s61d 23m 52s12.31.883Cassiopeia
12 Jul 201323h 30m 04s61d 56m 58s12.31.889Cassiopeia
13 Jul 201323h 26m 50s62d 29m 20s12.41.895Cassiopeia
14 Jul 201323h 23m 28s63d 00m 55s12.41.902Cassiopeia
15 Jul 201323h 19m 57s63d 31m 41s12.51.908Cassiopeia
16 Jul 201323h 16m 16s64d 01m 38s12.61.915Cepheus
17 Jul 201323h 12m 26s64d 30m 42s12.61.922Cepheus
18 Jul 201323h 08m 27s64d 58m 51s12.71.929Cepheus
19 Jul 201323h 04m 18s65d 26m 05s12.71.936Cepheus
20 Jul 201322h 59m 59s65d 52m 20s12.81.943Cepheus
21 Jul 201322h 55m 30s66d 17m 35s12.81.951Cepheus
22 Jul 201322h 50m 52s66d 41m 47s12.91.958Cepheus
23 Jul 201322h 46m 04s67d 04m 56s12.91.966Cepheus
24 Jul 201322h 41m 06s67d 26m 59s13.01.974Cepheus
25 Jul 201322h 35m 59s67d 47m 53s13.01.982Cepheus
26 Jul 201322h 30m 44s68d 07m 39s13.11.990Cepheus
27 Jul 201322h 25m 19s68d 26m 12s13.21.999Cepheus
28 Jul 201322h 19m 47s68d 43m 33s13.22.007Cepheus
29 Jul 201322h 14m 06s68d 59m 40s13.32.016Cepheus
30 Jul 201322h 08m 19s69d 14m 31s13.32.025Cepheus
31 Jul 201322h 02m 25s69d 28m 05s13.42.034Cepheus

See also

Comet Lemmon (C/2012 F6) now fading but remains visible through small telescopes in the June morning sky
Comet Lemmon (C/2012 F6) now visible in the morning sky from the northern hemisphere
Comet Lemmon (C/2012 F6) returns to the morning sky for observers located at southern hemisphere and tropical latitudes
Comet Lemmon (C/2012 F6) closes in on maximum brightness
Naked eye Comet Lemmon (C/2012 F6) moves past 47 Tuc and SMC
Comet Lemmon (C/2012 F6) now naked eye and continues to improve
Comet Lemmon (C/2012 F6) brightens faster than expected